Christmas 2013: A December to Remember

by | Dec 13, 2013 | Christin's Blog Posts

“[My dad] would get these far-off looks in his eyes and he would say, ‘Life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan.’ I just wish I’d realized at the time, he was talking about my life.” ~ Sandra Bullock as Lucy in While You Were Sleeping

The week before Thanksgiving, I sat looking over my calendar, my journal, my planner ~ realizing that I was not where I wanted to be this time of year. So many goals and hopes and dreams, so many best-laid plans fallen to the wayside.

It occurred to me that I could throw in the towel and call it a year – “Let’s hear it for 2014!” – or I could be “relentless” (my word for the year) and renew my resolve. Tackle the projects I still could, and finish strong. Start 2014 on a note of victory instead of defeat!

I decided I was going to take my own advice (Five Things You Can Do to Have a Happier, Less-Stressed Holiday) and make this a December to remember!

A December to Remember

Then on Thanksgiving Day I started with a sniffle and a cough… that by Monday had turned into pneumonia! I’ve spent most of the last two weeks in bed, feeling absolutely lousy.

So much for getting serious about my healthy eating and exercise routine and dropping a few pounds as a Christmas present to myself. And reorganizing my closet and cleaning out my junk drawers. So much for getting back on schedule with my blog posts. Or working on my novel. Or starting work in earnest on the next book in the What Women Should Know Series.

So much for faithfully reading the two daily Advent devotionals I’d purchased — Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s God is in the Manger. And finishing up the three other Bible studies I’d started and stopped through the year. And doing more crafts with my nephews. And cutting up old jeans to make shoes for children in Africa through Sole Hope.

And sending Christmas cards and shopping for presents and watching Christmas movies with my family and catching up with all my friends.

Looking back, I may have been a BIT ambitious in my pre-Thanksgiving planning.

Just a bit.

Lots of other important things have fallen through the cracks or otherwise gone terribly wrong while I’ve been sleeping…

So sitting here in the “ruins” of my December (which I say tongue-in-cheek, realizing that things have been MUCH worse for me in the past and are much worse for others right now), I’m thinking of two of my favorite quotes.

One from Fred Astaire as Finian McLonergan in Finian’s Rainbow:

“Things are indeed hopeless! Hopeless! But they’re not serious.”

And then this phrase from the Bible:

“Choose what is better…”

Actually it’s a paraphrase of Jesus’ words in Luke 10:41-42:

“’Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'”

In the midst of everything, I’m getting ready to join my family on their annual Christmas Show at the Sarasota Opera House this weekend. I’m the emcee and there’s a very special Nativity song that I’m going to narrate, with my Dad singing as “the Shepherd.”

Listening to it over and over the past few days, I woke up this morning with the words echoing in my heart and I realized this song really says it all.

None of the other stuff matters. I need to let it go.

This is my only true goal, my only real hope or dream. My heart’s cry.

Move Me Closer ~ A Shepherd's Prayer

Move Me Closer ~ A Shepherd’s Prayer

Twas the night before Christmas, and my only desire
Was peace among kids and to rest by the fire.
I’d just settled down in my favorite chair,
When I heard a small voice and a cry of despair.

As I stared at the hearth, I saw a strange sight:
Our nativity scene in the flickering light
Seemed almost alive! And how could this be –
One lonely shepherd was calling to me.

Move me closer, move me closer,
Move me closer to the Child.
Let me see Him, let me hold His hand,
Move me closer to the Child.

As you can well imagine, I was a bit surprised!
So with a shake of the head and a rub of the eyes,
I took another look and what did I see?
Without a doubt, he was looking at me.

It seems in the hustle and bustle of things,
The wrapping of gifts and the building of swings,
In assembling his scene, I’d been a bit hurried,
And understandably so, he was a little bit worried.

Move me closer, move me closer,
Move me closer to the Child.
Let me see Him, let me hold His hand,
Move me closer to the Child.

You see, candy canes and holly trim
Didn’t mean a thing to him,
If they kept him from his post
Beside the Child he loved the most.

So as strange I know as it must seem – whether it was or wasn’t a dream –
I placed him back where he belonged,
As he sang again his simple song.
And now when we at Christmas share,
We sing his song – “A Shepherd’s Prayer.”

Move me closer, move me closer,
Move me closer to the Child.
Let me see Him, let me hold His hand,
Move me closer to the Child.

One sister to another, can I encourage you to make this your prayer, too? Then it truly will be a December to remember!

 The Nativity Luke 2:11

[I first heard this song years ago, recorded by Evie Tornquist Karlsson on her album Christmas Memories. I’ve been trying for years to identify the author – even contacted Evie herself — she wasn’t sure. After searching and searching, I think it may have been written by Christian songwriters Jon and LouAnne Mohr. I’ve sent a FB message to LouAnne to try to confirm it!]